US Covid-19 cases and deaths drop to lowest levels in nearly a year

The US is reporting about 25,700 coronavirus cases daily, a 39 per cent decrease from two weeks ago. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - The United States is adding fewer than 30,000 Covid-19 cases a day for the first time since last June, and deaths are as low as they have been since last summer.

Nearly everywhere, the outlook for the country is improving.

Nearly 50 per cent of Americans have received at least one vaccine shot, and though the pace has slowed, the share is still growing by about 2 percentage points a week.

"I think by June, we're probably going to be at one infection per 100,000 people per day, which is a very low level," Dr Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, said on Sunday on the CBS show Face the Nation.

The share of coronavirus tests coming back positive has fallen to below 3 per cent for the first time since widespread testing began, and the number of hospitalised patients has fallen to its lowest point in 11 months, Dr Eric Topol of the Scripps Research Translational Institute noted this past week.

For the first time since March 5 last year, San Francisco General Hospital had no Covid-19 patients - "a truly momentous day", Dr Vivek Jain, an infectious-disease physician at the hospital, said last Thursday (May 20).

Michigan, which reported one of the largest surges this spring, has rapidly improved.

About 1,400 cases were identified on Sunday, compared with about 7,800 cases a day in mid-April.

The virus remains dangerous in communities with low vaccination rates, and getting vaccines into these communities is crucial in continuing to curb the virus.

As the virus continues to mutate, vaccines may need to be updated or boosters may need to be added.

The US is reporting about 25,700 coronavirus cases daily, a 39 per cent decrease from two weeks ago.

Deaths are down 14 per cent over the same period to an average of 578 a day.

Since the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance that said vaccinated people could forgo masks in most situations indoors and outside, states have followed suit.

Although experts who spoke to The New York Times said they were optimistic, they cautioned that the virus will not be eradicated in the US but would probably instead become a manageable threat we learn to live with, like influenza.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.